Sunday, 17 January 2010

Review - The Fantastic Mr Fox

In A Nutshell:- Fun and lively update of the classic Roald Dahl tale.

The Basics:- Based on the 1970 Roald Dahl classic and brought to the screen by writer/ director Wes Anderson (of Royal Tennenbaums / The Life Aquatic fame), this stop-motion animation tells the tale of Mr Fox, who is tempted out of a life of straight living, and his war against the three meanest farmers around, Boggis, Bunce and Bean.

The Good:- Unusually, by keeping only some of the very basics of the story (Mr Fox vs. the farmers, tail blown off, digging to escape) and spinning it out into a more involved tale, the film really succeeds - always a risky gamble with an adaptation of a beloved book. The animation is great. I'm a sucker for stop-motion animation anyway but there's a really charming to whole film that's extremely appealing. It's still very much a trademark Wes Anderson film dealing with a dysfunctional family as do his other films but is none the worse off for it. As Mr Fox himself, George Clooney provides an extremely likable performance and is ably supported by an equally fine supporting cast, including Wes Anderson regulars such as Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman.

The Bad:- If you're not overly a fan of Anderson's work then there's a possibility you may it not to your tastes but really I can't think of much bad to say about it as I enjoyed it from start to finish. The only thing that seemed slightly jarring was the use of the word "cuss" to replace what were obviously meant to some pretty strong swearwords - it seemed a little out of place for a children's film.

The Verdict:- A children's film that has just as much appeal for adults, it's definitely one that is destined to be regarded as a classic. It's also that rarest of beasts - an adaptation that diverges from the source material and is all the better for it. If you haven't already, give it a watch. Highly recommended.

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